May Goals Update and New Prospective Venue

Hey beautiful, do you believe in love at first sight or do I have to walk past you again?  Everyone feeling awkward yet? 🙂

So it’s the end of May, and I paid down $528 of my debt.  Not as amazeballs as previous months, but given some splurges and car repairs, it is what it is.  I thought I’d also share how I did on my May goals:

1) Run 80 miles, with 2 “speed” sessions (speed to me, at least) – Pass, contingent upon me completing my 5 and 3 miler tomorrow and Friday.  I’m loving how it’s already light out by 5 a.m., which helps me sneak in both running and lifting before I have to go to work.

2) More weights sessions, 2 upper body (arms, chest, back, abs) and 2 lower body (legs, booty, lower back, abs) per week – PASS!  I’ll probably focus more on this in June, since I love me some tank tops.

3)  2 sweets a week – PASS!  Even with the evil temptresses at work who give me their leftover candy.

4) Stick to or go under $600 in expenses (groceries, going out, gas, gifts, miscellaneous), and meet a 25% want metric – FAIL, with total at $633.25.  I’m kinda close, but no cigar.  I also spent over $400 on my splurges, but honestly, I loved it – my toiletries are fully stocked, I got my hair did, and I have contacts for the rest of the year.  I reassessed my retainers and think it can last a few more months (especially after seeing my friend’s busted looking retainers, which I happily clowned them on), so I didn’t buy any.

5) Study Spanish for at least 1 hour, 3 times a week – Passed on my hours, Failed on three times a week.  In the beginning of the month, my friend was getting married who was a major bridezilla enthusiastically detail-oriented, so I helped out which took up a lot of my free time.  I still managed to study, though, especially since we’re leaning towards South America for our honeymoon.

6) Veggies in every meal, including breakfast, at least 4 days a week – PASS!  This was easy, though, since egg quiches are easy to make.  I’ve been in the habit of having a cooking marathon on a weekend day so it’s less work during the week.

For June, I think I might take a break from any set goals, though I do still plan on running and lifting, as well as keeping on track with a budget and learning Spanish.  As for wedding plans, we found a new place that, where the previous one we mutually agreed upon, this place we’re mutually excited about.  The reception venue is slightly offbeat, kinda geeky, and fairly casual – ya know, 100% us!  I’ll update once it’s confirmed.

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

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Space Cadet Moments

Happy almost 3-day weekend, everyone… at least those residing in the U.S.  I don’t know about you, but work kicked my tuckus this week, so I’m pretty excited for a long weekend.  To kickstart, I thought I’d share some embarrassing or space cadet moments of my past.  I know I’ve talked about when dates say something funny, as well as when my mom has her moments, but I am not immune to such antics.  In fact, B’s snapping of his fingers as he yells out “A.D.D., look alive!” or “Hellloooo, McFly!” has been tossed around my household on more than one occasion, so without further ado:

1) Just recently, I was working my spreadsheet magic at work, when all of a sudden, my screen went black.  Our computers are older so this happened before, but usually the screen turns grey.  I called IT and they came up, but as soon as he sat on my chair, I figured out why it went black.  Since I’m a shorty doo-wop and my legs dangle, apparently I was swinging my legs and kicked off the switch on the power strip.  Again.

2) When I was in Hawaii and had one Mai Tai too many, I took a stroll on a starry night with my equally inebriated buddy.  We planted ourselves to rest, and since I tend to think I’m way more philosophical and deep than I really am under the influence, in a soft voice I said, “The moon… it just seems so… far away.”  Two minutes later, my friend said, “Um… it is far away.”

3) Back when I was a teen, my high school boyfriend and I were sitting in his car with the radio on and just making each other laugh.  Well, when I laugh a bit too hard, a putt-putt might come out, and since he made me laugh incredibly hard, a putt-putt did come out.  We both stopped laughing instantaneously and kind of looked surprised, and a few seconds later he turned up the radio and said, “Man, I really like this song.”  His sweet gesture of  switching the subject made me laugh even more, and when another putt-putt came out, he said, “Okay, I can’t ignore that one!” and we both laughed about it.

4) Taking it back to third grade, it was gymnastics week in P.E. and one of the things we had to do was jump off the springboard and leap over the horse.  I was incredibly nervous since I hate doing anything in front of people, but when it came to my turn, I decided to bring my third-grade-zen in, took a deep breath, and ran for it.  Well, as soon as I get to the springboard, the tip of my shoe caught underneath the board, I tripped, and BAM – faceplant on the springboard.

5) I was in a boring company-wide meeting and decided to skip out early.  Since I was in the front row, I wanted to be discreet, so I decided to take the exit near the front.  Well, when I opened the door and walked out, it turned out to be a closet where they kept the A.V. equipment.  I have since learned to look for the “Exit” sign on top of doors.

6) When watching “300” and the main character’s wife stabbed the conniving guy and it was found out that he was really working for the bad guys since gold coins were coming out of his satchel, I thought the council was saying “Treasure!!”  I thought that was a bit inappropriate and didn’t really understand it… on my third time watching it, I discovered that they were really saying “Traitor!” which completely makes more sense.

I can’t be the only one to have these space cadet moments, so please don’t leave me hanging and share your moments!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone 🙂

The one where we do things bass-ackwards (and where I reveal I am slightly cray-cray)

Back on April Fool’s, when B playfully bum-rushed me (he always seems to do this when I yell out “Come at me, bro!” *shrug*), I thought it would be hilarious to jokingly say, “Stop, you’ll hurt the baby!”  I know this is bad karma humor, but I expected a look of horror and instead I got a look of something quite the opposite, so now it’s a running joke in the house for him to ask “How’s the baby??” and rub my belly.  Over time, baby talk led to more serious talks, and next thing I knew, we were checking out rings.

It was exciting to go to a jeweler to 1) discover what my ring size was and 2) get to see what I had in mind on my finger.  We figured I’d play a part in picking it out (simple, solitaire, thin band, round shaped (since it’s like the hug in xo!)), since he’s not much for romantic surprises and I’m a “control freak.”  Pretty sure that’s the clinical term, I have to check Web MD.

Weeks go by, and while we were hanging out one night he asks, “Do you want this type of metal or that for the ring?”  I don’t really have a mouth filter, so instead of answering, I blurted out, “Oh, you haven’t bought it yet?”  We both know my lack of patience, so he didn’t take it offensively and just laughed.  This is why I communicate better in writing, I think – I have a chance to edit.  But back to the story.

So what do I do while he’s taking five-ever to research rings?  I start scoping out venues and dates.  In my defense – we know we’re going to have it in SD, we both wanted beginning of 2014, and SD is a pretty popular area to get married both for locals and destination weddings.  We needed to get crackin’, and he agreed to give me reign since 1) see control freak reference above, 2) it’s not like I really had to arm wrestle for these duties, 3) he knows I want something simple and reasonable, and 4) he gets veto power.

We reached consensus with a date fairly quickly, due to my penchant for even numbers, his football-related fondness of the day in mind, and the proximity of my birthday so less dates for him to deal with.  In a week, I also figured out all the reasonably priced (and not so reasonably priced… seriously, how do people sleep at night with these outrageous prices?!  Well, probably on 1000 count sheets with those rates, but wowie zowie, things are expensive) venues around the area near our church, and even created a cost-per-person spreadsheet.  This weekend, we scouted the areas, and found a place that we mutually agreed upon.  It’s reasonably priced given the things we want in the package are allowable (we don’t meet with them to confirm until Friday), it’s on the water, and it has awesome views which both locals and out of towners will enjoy.

The drawback?  Reasonably priced, projected with our number of guests, is relative since it’s still the amount we had in mind for the total wedding budget (a number we threw out without any basis), so it makes for a mild heart attack.  After pricing out options, though, this is still the lowest cost-per-person with most places being double, it’s the most convenient since set-up, catering, and take-down will be taken care of, and I do admit I’m emotionally attached to the venue.  It’s nothing extravagant, but if we aren’t allowed some things once we meet with them on Friday, then I’m not going to commit to it.

This will play a part in my debt repayment, though my aim is to still be debt free, or as close to debt free, in 2013, and definitely no where near the start of where I was in 2013.  Though the reception might not be the most frugal, having a gathering of our absolute favorite family and friends is important, and considered money well spent.  We are thinking of every possible way to cut corners, though, which I’ll divulge in later posts.  I don’t know if it’ll be interesting to state monetary details, but I’m okay with it since it’s not like I haven’t already confessed a variety of things.

So yeah, that’s been the activity lately – I feel a little cray-cray planning all this stuff before getting engaged… actually, that’s not true – I really just feel cray-cray stating that I’ve already been planning before getting engaged.  It’s actually been fun stuff getting my geek on trying to find the best value for things, and it was fun scouting out areas together this weekend.  Our communication so far has been awesome and I hope it continues on (for, like, ever).

Car Repairs, You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Actually, I think “Car repairs, you aren’t going to slow me down!” is a better suited title, but oh well.  So like I divulged in this confession, I planned some “luxury” expenses that I greatly enjoyed and went crazy on buying during the beginning of the month.  It’s hard not to when you walk into Nordstrom -it’s a place where everybody knows my name… and they’re always glad I came.

Okay, so that’s the “Cheers” theme song and I’m merely Customer #232 to them, but that’s neither here nor there.  All these planned expenses were great until an unplanned expense came along… car repairs.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that whenever I turned on the A/C, the car would start to rumble and, over time, it started to really rage.  I also noticed that when going up hills, it wasn’t chugging with steady fervor and, especially bearing Tonya’s pretty scary car breakdown experience in mind, I thought I’d get my little emo car checked out.

I didn’t like my old mechanic anymore since there was a bit of drama with that shop and it was inconvenient, so I tried a new person out at the suggestion of my supervisor.  Apparently, it needed a major service, because when I took it in last time, they weren’t nearly as comprehensive with the service as what he told me I needed.  He rattled off all the things I needed, and not really knowing anything about cars, I asked B for advice.  Thankfully, B called the shop to talk cars – not trying to be damsel in distress, but he knows more about this stuff since he has an M.E. degree and he geeks out talking about cars, anyway.  In my defense, I completely haggled on his behalf where I got him a ton of shirts for like a dollar in Thailand, so we work off each others’ strengths.

In the end, the repairs were about $600.  Nothing too harsh, but when I don’t plan for it, it’s kind of lame.  I do have a ‘secret stash’ that I try not to acknowledge, mostly set aside for emergency family situations, medical, or car needs.  The last time I touched it was a few years back to help out when my grandma in the PI needed dentures – coming from a long line of foodies, you don’t have to tell me twice it’s a “need,” grandmama!  As much as I hate touching the stash, I do want to progress and not regress with that debt, so I’m acknowledging it to help absorb some of the repair costs.

Is this a pitch for an e-fund?  A little… but mostly I just wanted to acknowledge how knowing some people might be watching my debt reduction has really made me think about these choices.  If I was an alternate reality without a blog, I think I would’ve just charged it and not thought twice about my debt building up again.  And, I hate to admit it, perhaps I would’ve became even more lenient with purchases… it’s what I’ve done before, so I wouldn’t put it past me to do it again.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m pretty thankful that this blog and PF community keeps me in check!  I’m learning and I’m sure there are probably other setbacks in the future, but as long as I’m moving forward, that’s all that really matters.  Most importantly, my car is now even-tempered and working nicely, so hopefully it can last another year or so.

Have you noticed any changes, behavioral or otherwise, since beginning your blog?

Collaborative and Guest Posts Day

Note to self when packing up clothes to go to the gym on Monday mornings: bring pants.

Happy Monday – so in lieu of today’s blog rambling, I recently collaborated with Ross at Cash Rebel on a post regarding minivans.  Here’s the link to the post for your reading pleasure – be sure to bring a cup of tea and biscuit since it’s a little lengthy.  Oh, and if you vote for Team Mini Van = Mega Fun, I promise to tattoo your blog logo onto my arm like they do in Nascar.

Okay, no… no I won’t… but it was still pretty fun to write and I hope you agree with me or else enjoy it!

Also, I did my first ever guest post over at Fearless Men!  Thanks John and Todd, for the fun opportunity!

I hope everyone has a wonderful week xo

#FF Part 2, the Electric Boogaloo

Happy Friday, everyone!  I thought I would bring another edition of #FF (Follow Friday) on my favorite posts from the past couple of weeks.

1) I really liked Shannon’s post on “The Sweet Spot: Where Spending & Frugality Coexist” because she told me to go out and buy a Gucci purse!  Okay, that’s not the take-away at all I got from it, but it did speak to me because though I’ve learned (or learning) to tame my reckless spending, I do still like some things that might be considered too expensive, frivolous or unnecessary to some.  Shannon validates that it’s okay, it’s just learning to do it within your means, and finding that balanced “sweet spot” since everyone is different and values things in their own unique way.

2) I am looking forward to Mr. 1500’s Warren Buffett series, and he kickstarted it with “My Weekend with Warren Buffett: Part 1.”  I’m sure he learned a lot, and it’s great that he’s passing on some of the knowledge to his readers.

3) Pauline’s post on “The awesome French healthcare system.  Or is it?” was also a great read since I’m really fascinated with other countries’ healthcare systems, but dismayed to read some of the negatives like shady practices by dentists, opting for abortion over contraceptives, etc.  It just goes to show no system can ultimately be perfect, but hopefully as the years go on, things can improve in the U.S., France, or anywhere.

4) Your PF Pro wrote about “5 Ways to Save at Amusement Parks: Sea World San Diego”, which has some great tips on saving some cash when going on amusement parks with little ones.  Not going to lie, but I loved how his sister kind of worked him in order to get the baby beluga toy… at least it was priced reasonably!

5) Cash Rebel wrote a great post on “How to Run Marathons on a Budget,” since it discusses one of my favorite topics and how to be cost-efficient at it.  I do tend to invest in wick-away apparel since I sweat like it’s my job, but overall I agree, especially with the high costs of race fees these days.

6) Cash Cow Couple discussed “What is Financial Freedom?” and their enthusiasm and reason for it is apparent.  They’re so on the ball and motivated at such an early age, no doubt they’ll achieve this in no time.

7) Frugal Rules gave some great advice on “5 Great Ways to Save Money When Buying a Car” – I’m most likely going to buy one in the next year or two, so these are useful tips to keep in mind.

And because I like diversification with my blog reading, I also really liked:

8) Ashley wrote a thought-provoking post entitled “What Does Curvy Even Mean?”  I had the same reaction to the tweet as she did, and agree with what she conveyed in her post.

9) This is heavily laced with profanity so it might not be for everyone, but I love Thug Kitchen’s alternative recipe for Hamburger Helper.  He has great, solid tips in general, plus he’s just a crack up.  I still chuckle randomly at “Never trust a glove with a face” – truth!

10) I loved Frugal Portland’s touching tribute to her mom in “7 Reasons My Mom is Awesome.”  What an amazing role model of a mom, and Kathleen is as top notch as her!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  And to the mothers out there – Holly, Mackenzie, Shannon, Mrs. Moneyseed, Mrs. 1500, Mrs. Frugal Rules, OLinA – have an amazing Mother’s Day!

Men, on first dates, please don’t…

Though I’ve had about four relationships, two of which could be considered serious, I had to kiss hug a lot of frogs before meeting B (a kiss?  Not until I know his dental hygiene habits).  I admittedly went out on a lot of first dates,  so I thought I would pass along some advice from my experiences.  This is mostly directed towards men regarding first dates since that’s all I’ve ever dated, but I suppose it can be advice to anyone.

So men, on first dates, please don’t:

1) Go on a hike with someone and comment on how profusely she sweats, even if true (especially when you have white foamy stuff coming out of the corners of your mouth).

2) Ask her if she has brothers or sisters… five times during the date.

3) Go on a lovely stroll down Pacific Beach pier, notice a light in the far off distance, and ask if she thinks that’s Alcatraz (since it is probably Del Mar, which is about a half-hour away versus 9-10 hours away).

4) Talk about porn out of the blue.

5) Sit down at a restaurant with a woman and, when the waitress comes over to the table, give each other a knowing glance and smirk.  It tends to give off the notion that this is the upteenth date of the week.

6) Ask to stop in at a store before walking down to the beach, only to walk out with a bottle in a paper bag.

7) Talk about your ex or other failed relationships.

8) Say (if you asked her out from the gym), “Wow, you look so nice outside the gym!” (I mean, E for effort, but just stop at nice.)

9) When she’s obviously older than you and she reveals her age, say, “Man, really??  You look good for your age.” O_O

10) Notice the woman is Filipino and ask if she speaks Filipinese (or, like my friend told me, ask her if she speaks Mexican.  OR, like my best friend proclaimed to someone how he was part Norwegian and she asked where Norwegia was).

11) Don’t try to one-up her in a conversation – “Oh, Costa Rica? Yeah, that was one of my stops during a three-month trip.” (best said in a haughty manner)

12) Don’t ogle other women so blatantly in front of her.  Like I tell my guy friends whose girlfriends/wives get mad when doing this, practice “one-alligator-two-alligator-look-away!” (and master it to one-alligator).

And men, I know that women probably do things equally faux pas.   So if there’s other dating horror or humor stories, spill it. 🙂

Edit: And of course, this is all just meant for humor and only my viewpoint… I certainly don’t believe that I speak on behalf of everyone, or anyone for that matter! 🙂